To be honest this movie had to grow on me. It took me about three times before I actually watched it all the way through because I’m always doing 500 things. Now that I’ve actually watched it with my eyeballs my brain, and my heart, I find that this movie was very well done.
We’re going to break this down like we’re back in school (though, some of you probably still are, I have been freed from that unfortunate situation!)
Becoming Who You Are Meant to Be
This is something that all of our singers have in common, but I’ll zoom in on this one particular example of Buster Moon helping his sheep friend, Eddie, figure out what he’s good at and he becomes the music master cackles of the show, of course, everything has to literally fall apart first but… c’est la vie. One of the special things about this friendship is how they support each other. After Moon’s theatre is destroyed,
Meena the elephant. A painfully shy teenager with an amazing voice played by Tori Kelly. She starts off incapable of singing in public though she does living room shows for her family who know just how talented she is. Clearly, attempting to compete in a singing competition as someone who is painfully shy is problematic so on Meena’s first attempt to audition, she freezes up. Her journey in this movie is about her overcoming her shyness so that she can share her voice with the world…starting with this public singing show.
Having a Wonderful Support System
Though Meena was hella shy, she had the best support system. Her entire neighborhood came out to celebrate when they thought she’d made it through the audition process to compete in the singing competition. Even the other animals (besides the evil, annoying little rat) support her and try to encourage her, but…that is the way with shyness. You can’t be coaxed out of it. Like Buster Moon says in the movie, you’ve just got to sing to start singing. Moon, the theatre owner, is also uber supportive of Meena, and even more so after he overhears her singing for the first time, because, if you remember, her anxiety overtook her at the audition.
It’s hard to skip over Rosita, housewife and mother to 20-something piglets and a pig who works far too much, is never home, and no longer sees his wife as someone with hopes and dreams outside of being a wife and mother. Gunter, a pig with a spicy personality and amazing dancing capabilities becomes Rosita’s partner. Rosita is comfortable with her singing but very awkward in her body and has no confidence in her dancing abilities. Though her show mates try to support and inspire her, most specifically Gunter with his contagious, somewhat overbearing energy, Rosita comes into her own when she discovers salsa dancing and music. After a lively performance in a deserted grocery store, the security guard issues his applause via the grocery store intercom system, thereby encouraging Rosita and helping to improve her confidence.
Escaping Your Naysayers
I’d apologize for the old-ass terminology, except I’m not sorry. It fits pretty perfectly Johnny’s (the gorilla) situation, especially after he finally admits to his father that he wants to be a singer and not a gangster. All his life his father has been training him for the family business and Johnny, with his head always on singing, has never wanted that for himself, but beneath his father’s hulking shadow and heavy influence, he is pressured to participate in bank heists. When Johnny attempts to do it all, he unintentionally sacrifices his relationship with his father to pursue his dreams of winning the prize money in the singing competition. Ironically and sweetly, when his father sees Johnny performing on live television, he finally understands and reconciles with Johnny and chooses to support his singing career. This also gives Johnny the stamp of fatherly approval that he’s never had before and, honestly, with my own suspect relationships with my parents, I found the resolution of this particular story plot to be the most emotionally fulfilling.
Discovering Your Strengths & Conquering Your Weaknesses
We have multiple examples, including Rosita finding her inner salsa-goddess and finally becoming comfortable with dancing. We’ve also already noted Meena overcoming her shyness. What has not been harped on just yet is our lovely porcupine friend, Ash.
The prickly porcupine leaves a hobosexual boyfriend who constantly puts her down by telling her she is a background singer and only a background singer and laughs at her when she says she wants to write her own song. All while this pricklepuss nigga seems to be unemployed and lives in her apartment. Then has the nerve to cheat on her with a another wanna be musician as Ash seeks to follow her own dreams by singing in the competition, thereby, loosening his control over her opportunities to perform and stepping out of his ashy shadow and into the spotlight.
Don’t be afraid to disappoint those who do not support your dreams.
A bit of an elaboration on Johnny, but Rosita was also having this issue, although her husband wasn’t being unsupportive on purpose. Rosita is the stereotypical housewife and mother who has put aside her dreams in order to raise and support a family that does not return that support (I am not trying to be condescending. Just describing her as she is painted in the movie because everyone with good sense knows being a wife and mother is hard as fuck.)
“…Dream Big Dreams.”
A quote directly from the film which encompasses the overarching theme of this entire movie. It even applies to the dirty rat, Mike, with his deep, vibrating tenor of a voice who hopes to go from busking with his saxophone on the streets to performing for big money on a stage. Mike is the most despicable character in this entire movie and is wholly selfish and self-absorbed. And for such a tiny creature, he is the biggest
Support Dreamers and Artists
Although she was hella reluctant before and after the very unfortunate mishap of the entire theatre being destroyed, Nana Noodleman, the famous opera singer, got onboard with supporting the theater in the end. Because Moon’s father was not around (aka dead) to see him finally become successful, he needed this approval and validation from someone he always admired and looked up to. Of course…he also needed her money to rebuild the theatre, but that is a different kind of support, though equally important since applause doesn’t pay bills or feed the artists. That moment of almost motherly approval is also something to behold because, as it is very common in animated movies, there is no mention of Buster Moon’s mother, so there is the implication that this is also something that Nana provides.